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Report: Kyrie Irving is Knicks’ top target in 2019 free agency

Kyrie Irving, Enes Kanter

Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, right, goes up to shoot against New York Knicks’ Enes Kanter (00) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The Celtics won 110-89. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


The Celtics are reportedly optimistic about re-signing Kyrie Irving in unrestricted free agency next summer.

But they’ll face competition.

A. Sherrod Blakey of NBC Sports Boston the Bulls Talk podcast:

I can tell you right now, the New York Knicks, he is their No. 1 target. I’ve spoken with people within that organization. They have made it absolutely crystal clear to me that, if they had their pick of guys that are going to be in the free agent market this summer, Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice.

This is the effect of Irving’s vague statements on his future with Boston. Other teams see him as attainable.

Irving won’t be next summer’s best free agent. That’ll be Kevin Durant or, if healthy, Kawhi Leonard. But Leonard has telegraphed an interest in Los Angeles, and Durant… well maybe the Knicks could pursue him.

Irving looks the most realistic, though. The Knicks could sell Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, on a homecoming – but so can the Nets, who are also reportedly interested.

The Knicks reportedly plan to stretch Joakim Noah this fall, setting up max cap space next summer. That plus this report suggests they’re more than just interested in Irving.

They look like a team trying to avoid directly tampering while still broadcasting its enthusiasm for Irving in the hopes it impresses him. Will it work?

It’ll be a long season of Irving rumors until we find out.